Industry Optimistic about Iraq's Petroleum Future

Oil and gas officials were optimistic about Iraq’s petroleum future, despite evident challenges, at the 10th Iraq Petroleum Conference, held in London.

“Despite security and financial troubles, Iraq’s crude oil production has grown significantly over the last five years to reach a record of 4.7 million barrels per day in January 2016,” Salih Husain Ali, the ambassador of the embassy of the Republic of Iraq in London, told delegates at the event, which was attended by Rigzone.

The Ambassador spoke of an upwards trajectory in the country’s production levels, stating that Iraq was moving “towards its production potential of 6 million barrels per day by 2022”.

In an effort to help boost output in the country, BP plc, which is running “one of the world’s largest fields in Southern Iraq…hopes to triple production,” according to the UK’s Minister of State at the Department of Energy and Climate Change Andrea Leadsom. Shell Iraq’s Vice President and Country Chairman Marcus Antonini also revealed at the conference that his company intends to drill more wells at the Majnoon field to add production and that it is working towards helping Basra Gas Company, in which Shell is a shareholder, produce 700 million cubic feet of gas per day by the end of 2016 with a view to reaching 1Bcf per day in the future.

Iraq has been “hit hard” by a conflict with ISIS, said Mohammed Sahib Al Daraji, minister of industry and minerals at the Federal Government of Iraq, and the fall in oil prices over the last couple of years.

“I’m still optimistic about Iraq’s future and still believe that the last barrel of oil will be from Iraq but we all need to work together…to build a proper petroleum industry – upstream and downstream – in Iraq,” Daraji said in a presentation at the event.

Leadsom shared Daraji’s optimism about the future of Iraq’s hydrocarbon industry, echoing the minister’s calls for a united front.

“The energy world is in a period of great transition. Oil prices have fallen drastically, IOCs have slashed capital expenditure and costs and upstream investment continues to fall. These challenges affect us all. Despite these challenges, it is still possible for Iraq to deliver on its huge energy potential but further action will be needed to ensure this,” said Leadsom.

“Success here will require a united effort by the Iraqi government, the Kurdistan Regional Government, all of Iraq’s communities and Iraq’s international partners,” she continued.

A graduate in journalism from Cardiff University, Andreas has eight years of experience as a business journalist. Email Andreas at andreas.exarheas@rigzone.com

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